I watched Shane Meadows’ Made of Stonethe other day and enjoyed it very much.
The Stone Roses have always left me cold; I simply can’t hear what everyone else hears in that music. There seems to be little sonic difference between what is there and what, say Shed Seven visited upon us; overly simple, fey, boyish bagatelles.
Which says a lot for why I enjoyed the film. Meadows was asked by his “all-time favourite band” to make a film about their reformation, so I didn’t expect any critical distance or insight. This expectation is not disappointed, as there is no investigation into the personalities of the band, just representation of the facts. Surely, for example, it would have been interesting to know why the drummer “left” the band at the end of a gig he didn’t enjoy, just before the big shows at Manchester’s Heaton park? Or to have a more thorough investigation of how the mortally estranged band of brothers managed to set aside their differences to reform? After all, John Squire had made his opinions clear in his art in 2009. Maybe dividing £11,000,000 by four suggests an answer, being the reported gross for the two Heaton park shows.
Still, as a concert film it’s hard to beat. The best part is the lengthy section about the warm-up show at Warrington’s Parr Hall just before the Manchester shows. It was a free show, tickets being available to fans who could produce an album or CD sleeve, or official merchandise. Meadows’ team was on hand at the venue on the afternoon that the gig was announced of Facebook and Radio 1 (imagine – Stone Roses fans still listen to Radio 1…) and the reactions of the fans are brilliantly documented, from the first few frantic runners, off home to get the required ticket qualifications, to the purposefully striding dad barking into the mobi, forgetting the child trailing him, to the reactions at those of the head of the queue just as the last ticket has gone…it’s all great and I guess there are a couple of acts for whom I’d do the same thing.
Great film, although I still don’t get The Stone Roses and didn’t really expect to from this film. But it does remind one admirably of how important music is to us all.